Interview with MA Director Paspawisa Jewpattanagul

We spoke to graduating MA Directing student Paspawisa Jewpattanagul about her upcoming production of Red and studying at LAMDA.

Red runs on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 September in The Carne Studio Theatre. Book tickets here.

Tell us a bit more about your play. What appealed to you about this story?

It’s about Mark Rothko’s famous Seagram Murals Paintings, which will bring us beyond these paintings and beyond Rothko to almost every corner of life.

What I love about ‘RED’ is that it changes every time I come back to read it, and the meaning deepens the older I get. I thought it would be at least 20 years before I could direct this play, when I understood more about art and life. But then I realised I would never feel as if I knew enough about both those things. It will be a journey that is always ‘a work in progress’, so, I decided to do it here and now.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

‘Do not spend all of your life trying to prove or waiting for a sign that you could be a theatre director, you already are one.’ - Debbie Seymour

Why did you want to become a Director?

I grew up in a generation experiencing identity-crisis, depression, and lost souls. But I have faith and hope in people’s ability to change. I know all we need is just an ignitor or a moment that sparks and then everything changes. I experienced that moment for myself when I was in the theatre, so I have a strong faith in what theatre can do. I know I want to work in it for the rest of my life.

What are 5 things you’ve learnt during your time at LAMDA?

  1.  To direct is to ask the right question that will unlock the possibilities for an actor to discover the character’s journey.
  2.  Directing is not a lonely job if you include everyone as an ensemble and treat everyone as co-artists.
  3.  I always used to focus on the question ‘What is missing here?’. Now, I have learnt to ask a question I always forgot, ‘What could I take away?’
  4. There is not just one way or one method to help your actors. Instead open the senses and see what each actor needs; it could be anything from Stanislavsky, Chekov, Laban, Meisner, Viewpoint, time, or something that does not belong to any particular method.
  5.  Be confident, be clear, and be kind.

How would you describe your rehearsal process?

Go wide first, exploring as many possibilities, both physically and internally. Play around to find what could happen under a given circumstance. Decide together which possibility we want to work on, then go deep with that choice.

What has been your biggest influence?

The British theatre industry completely changed me because I come from a country where we have less than twenty well-known theatre companies, which is so different from here. The works are so different in taste, style, and content. But what they have in common is how the artists express themselves so bravely and boldly. I learnt not to be afraid to fail and share my voice with the public.

Anyway, the following five names have been my biggest influence; Amit Lahav, Marianne Elliot, Scott Graham, Marcus Stern, and Debbie Seymour.